How to improve your in-home Wi-Fi
Posted on July 5, 2018
6 min read
With your Telstra nbn™ service delivering next-generation internet speeds to your home, it’s easier than ever to stream, surf and create. But what do you do when your Wi-Fi isn’t delivering those speeds to your devices? It can be a frustrating experience, but there’s no need to worry.
With a bit of knowledge and a couple of hours set aside, you can ensure your in-home Wi-Fi is capable of delivering the full potential of your nbn connection to the rest of your home.
Find out how your Wi-Fi compares to your nbn connection
Before you start optimising your Wi-Fi, you should benchmark your connection so you can measure the difference your efforts are making.
Telstra offers nbn services on a range of technology types, including Fibre to the Premises, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial, Fibre to the Node, Building or Curb, and Fixed Wireless. In each case, different factors will impact the maximum speeds you can expect to enjoy.
In some cases, these factors could lead to slower-than-expected speeds — not your Wi-Fi network. Identifying the part of the network that’s underperforming means you can focus on implementing effective solutions.
The best way to benchmark your nbn service is to run a speed test on a wired connection. Plug your device into the modem using an Ethernet cable, and use a speed test tool like Speedtest to measure your latency (or ping), download and upload speeds. Unplug the Ethernet cable and repeat the test over Wi-Fi, taking note of both results. You can also use the Telstra Home Dashboard App to test these results from your smartphone over Wi-Fi.
If there’s a big difference between the two sets of results, then optimising your in-home Wi-Fi could make a big difference to your nbn experience.
If the results are similar for both tests, congratulations — your wireless network is already configured to perform to the potential of your nbn connection.
Get the best equipment for the job
If you’re hanging on to an old modem, you may be limiting the capabilities of your home Wi-Fi network.
Since Australians began using broadband internet, Wi-Fi technology has seen a number of improvements increase speeds and bandwidth exponentially. Depending on the age of your equipment, a simple upgrade may be all you need.
For Telstra customers, the Telstra Smart Modem offers 4×4 802.11ac Wi-Fi — the gold standard, with a maximum throughput of 1.3 gigabits per second. That’s more than double the speed of the previous generation, 802.11n, and 25 times faster than the generation before that.
Finally, if your nbn connection is down for scheduled maintenance or there’s an interruption to the network, the Smart Modem will use Telstra’s mobile network instead. This won’t improve your Wi-Fi speeds, but it does mean you’ll stay connected more often.
Mobile backup is available to premises in 4G coverage areas. Check coverage at telstra.com/coverage. Eligible broadband service required. Mobile backup connection is limited to speeds of up to 6Mbps for downloads and 1Mbps for uploads. Actual speeds will vary due to local conditions and content accessed.
Modem and furniture positioning matters
Modem positioning makes a big difference to day-to-day network speeds. It’s best to place your Wi-Fi modem as close to your devices as you can, and as centrally in the house as possible. If you split your internet time between a home PC and the Xbox in the living room, place your modem centrally between them.
Wi-Fi waves have a tougher time travelling through dense objects, so it’s best to achieve the clearest line of sight between the modem and your devices. Check that your heaviest furniture isn’t in between the modem and your device.
Make sure to give your modem some space. Ensure there’s plenty of room around your modem’s vents and that it’s away from heaters and sunny windows. If your modem is overheating, performance can be degraded, and the modem can be damaged.
Minimise sources of interference
There are many sources of radio interference in the home, from appliances to reflective surfaces. Fortunately, minimising the impact of this interference is easy.
Some appliances, such as microwaves and cordless phones, operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum when active. You may notice that your connection stability degrades when you’re heating up leftovers for lunch. Ensure your modem isn’t set up next to these devices.
Fridges and other appliances made of metal, such as your stove, reflect radio waves and can cause issues. At this point you’ve probably realised that the kitchen isn’t the ideal place to set up your nbn gear! Place the modem so that the Wi-Fi can travel to as much of your house as possible without passing through the kitchen at all.
Bear in mind that mirrors have a thin layer of metal inside of them. As tempting as it can be to keep your modem out of sight, avoid setting it up inside a mirrored wardrobe.
Ensure larger homes have full coverage
Typical Wi-Fi modems have a range suitable for most small and medium sized houses. Real-world factors — such as dense walls, interference, and furniture positioning — reduce this range. For homes with three or more bedrooms or multiple levels, Wi-Fi signal-boosting hardware may be necessary.
This can create problems in larger homes. If your Wi-Fi performs in line with your nbn speeds when you’re within a few meters of the modem, but degrades further away, you may need one or more boosters to get full coverage.
One solution is the Telstra Smart Wi-Fi Booster. You can strategically place up to four Boosters around the house to increase the coverage around your house. You’ll simply connect to the same network that you always have, and you’ll be automatically connected to the booster with the strongest signal at your position. It’s an easy solution that doesn’t require technical know-how or extensive tinkering.
Using the Telstra Home Dashboard App, you’ll be given guidance on the best positioning for your boosters — and customised help with troubleshooting whenever you need it.
Wrapping it up
Today, Wi-Fi usually works well without much work, but if you’re encountering issues, these steps should have you blazing ahead on the nbn before too long. If you’d like to learn more about how you can make the most of your nbn service, make sure you check out the nbn hub on Telstra Exchange.
nbn™ is a trademark of NBN Co Limited and used under licence.